Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fiction or Non-Fiction?

Just a quick post today. . .

This was a bit of a combo lesson I did earlier this year.  We first brainstormed the differences between fiction and non-fiction. My friends did pretty well, but it was a bit surprising to see what they missed.  I think in all, the last bullet in each column was one they hadn't really thought about before.

We had talked about genres briefly a few days prior, so I added it on to our lesson.  My friends brought favorite books from home.  We identified the genre, wrote it on a sticky and then put the book title under it.  The sticky was then put on our anchor chart in the correct column.  What was nice is that it was a nice book share.  They got some great ideas for books they want to read in the future from classmates recommendations.  Not surprisingly, none of them had a non-fiction book.  I pulled some non-fiction books from our class library and we determined the different genres from those.

I did end with a handout that streamlined the different genres in an easy to read chart.  This went into their reading binder for reference as needed.  They seem pretty solid on genres now.  Hopefully!


  1. How do you explain a memoir? This is a trouble spot for me...

  2. Hi Ashlee. On this chart, I would place a memoir under non-fiction. I liken it to an autobiography. They know what an autobiography is,so the explanation I give makes sense to them. I explain that while an autobiography tells the person's entire life, a memoir usually focuses on a smaller part of the person's life, experiences they had at a specific time in their life. I'm not saying that is the absolute correct answer, but that's how I've always explained it. Hope that helps a little. Maybe someone else out there in blogland has a better way share.

  3. I think I am in the process of pinning your entire blog! LOVE IT!
    Thinking of Teaching

  4. Beth, that's so nice of you to say. I'm just happy that you find some of my ramblings useful!

  5. So many clever ideas on your blog - thanks for sharing. I pinned this Fiction/Nonfiction anchor chart today. I'm certain it is going to be a helpful visual for my 5th grade students.

  6. After seeing your post, I strategically selected a stack of books for each of my student tables. We sorted by fiction and nonfiction, looking for evidence- features that helps us distinguish. The second day we sorted by genre (historical fiction, science fiction, biography, informational, realistic fiction, etc.) As we got started, I had to make another chart to help track features that were tricky or misleading. The misconceptions were enlightening. The first, most obvious problem were some students that thought fiction was real, and nonfiction is not real. One student thought that if it was a Scholastic book it was fiction. Other difficulties included covers with photographs of people (models), books that had a map, or very realistic details--all believed to be nonfiction. That information is so helpful to me to help them understand the differences between nonfiction and realistic fiction, or nonfiction and historical fiction, etc. Loved this activity.

    1. I'm so glad it worked for you. I too was surprised at the misconceptions my friends had regarding fiction and nonfiction. This is an important lesson for the beginning of the year because it clears things up from the start. Thanks for reading my blog!

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